Historic Silk Factory Museum in Como and Ferry to Bellagio

June 3, 2019, Como, Italy

Thoughts Heading Into the Day

I was quite excited to see this museum because Jadyn and I had researched and put together a Powerpoint presentation on it for our class.  I also felt I was more familiar with this museum than the other museums, so I was hoping I could just take in what I was seeing, and not worry about taking notes of what the tour guide said.

I can’t WAIT to ferry across Lake Como to Bellagio!  My son was in Como on his mission and he told me I would love Bellagio because of its beautiful vegetation.  He also told me about the silk ties you can purchase there, so I was anxious to pick one out for him and my husband.  

Historic Silk Factory Museum

At the Historic Silk Factory Museum, or Museo didattico Della Seta, the first thing you notice is the enormous wire sculpture of a silkworm cocoon that sits outside.  We all had fun talking pictures in it.  

We were given a guided tour, to our surprise, and I was so grateful for that as I learn so much more on guided tours than self-guided tours.  Not only did we learn about silk, we also learned about machines, looms, dyes, and textiles.   

Did you know that silk comes from a silkworm, that is actually a moth?!?  The silkworm larva eats mulberries leaves until it is ready to spin its silk cocoon. It takes 3-8 days to spin a cocoon.  Once the cocoons are spun, the cocoons are harvested and the pupa inside is killed by heat, preventing it from becoming a moth.  This is usually done by boiling water or steam. The cocoon loosens in the water and then the silk can be unwound.  Silk is the only natural filament fiber, and each cocoon produces one mile of filament. This was a nice review of what I had learned for my presentation about silkworms prior to coming on the study abroad. 

The historic features of this factory museum are wonderful.  I loved seeing the old looms, dying vats, chemical paraphernalia, machines to harvest and spin silk, and the spools of silk thread.  There are three original looms in this museum that worked with the power of water to twist the yarns. Seeing the punch card looms and dobby looms reminded me of Dr. Baugh’s Textiles class.  

What I enjoyed seeing most was the textiles themselves.  There was a textile on the wall with a floral design that was created 30 years ago for the White House.  It was beautiful and I felt privileged for having been able to see it. The jacquard loom had a beautiful orange tapestry-type weave on it.  I wondered how many hours were put into these weaves since these were all handlooms.       

I love antiques and this museum was full of them.  Preserving and storing this machinery until a place could be found to house it took great effort.  The Pessina Dyeworks heirs, in their wisdom, saw that these obsolete machines were eventually going to be destroyed because of technological progress and took it upon themselves to preserve them.  It was a pleasure and a privilege to see it all, and to see it all displayed so beautifully.  

Ferry Across Lake Como to Bellagio

Seeing is definitely believing!  I knew Lake Como and Bellagio would be beautiful, but I had no idea how beautiful.  Ferrying across Lake Como to Bellagio is probably one of the most beautiful sights on earth. It’s simply breathtaking. It is also amazing how all these little cities dot the shores of Lake Como and lie majestically against the Alps. I loved being on the ferry for two hours and taking it all in with the sun and wind on my face. I learned about the majesty of Mother Nature, and the peace and quiet that comes from observing it.  

Bellagio is beautiful, just like my son said.  It juts out into Lake Como and has fantastic views of the lake.  The vegetation is lovely and such a contrast to the lake. I especially liked the lines of umbrella trees and thought the palm tree in the bed of pink roses was stunning.  

I wished we could have had more time in Bellagio.  Our museum tour had gone overtime, and our kind directors decided they wanted to buy us lunch.  We had a delicious Italian pizza, but lunch took longer than we anticipated.  By the time we finished eating we only had an hour to explore and shop.  I was sad that we came all this way and could not stay longer, but ferrying across Lake Como to Bellagio will be one of my fondest memories of this study abroad.      

Takeaways From the Day

Here are a few takeaways from the day:  

No plan survives contact with the enemy. Planning is important, but plans change. The key is to be flexible enough to adapt to the change.

Silk is a natural, incredible, and beautiful fiber that we should not take for granted or use excessively since it requires loss of life to harvest it.       

Heavenly Father and His Son are amazing creators, and they have provided everything we need on the earth, even down to the silk worm.  

Lake Como was like heaven on earth, and the peacefulness of the water and sights had a calming effect on me that I cannot even explain but made me think of the “living water”, our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  

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